NBA Players Becoming Virtual Coaches With Famer Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

Scott Soshnick
Variety

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NBA players are taking all the training tips they learned from years of experience to mobile devices around the world.

The union that represents NBA players has signed a global partnership with Famer, a mobile sports coaching and mentoring platform that in the coming months will enable the athletes and their trainers to share custom training videos with kids and their parents. That part is free.

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For an additional cost, however, users will also be able to upload their own videos and receive direct feedback from the players. The company and players would share that revenue.

The NBPA Training Ground, as the virtual program will be called, will be presented by Spalding. Its launch next week will include participation from a handful of players, including Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic and Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as trainers whose clients are professional athletes.

NBA players are among the most popular athletes in the world. Games are distributed worldwide, making the players global icons and sought-after pitchmen. Megastars like LeBron James have taken advantage of technology to reach that global fan base.

Athletes are increasingly seeking ways to cash-on on the direct access to fans granted by technology.

Olympic volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings, for instance, during the pandemic has been holding video chat with dozens of volleyball clubs. That has turned into a four-week pilot called “The Fundamentals,’’ an online program of skills, fitness and mindset training that’ll be delivered on her digital volleyball and lifestyle platform. The program sold out in six days, registered about 250 people.

Famer launched last year after raising more than $2 million, a round led by Israeli real estate developer and investor Jonathan Leitersdorf. The company may have as many as 100,000 clients by the fall in sports like basketball, lacrosse and soccer.

Dan Gladstone, senior VP of grassroots basketball and business development for THINK450, the for-profit arm of the union, said virtual training and distribution is a logical extension of the organization’s existing work in youth camps and clinics.

“We look forward to having kids of all ages and skill levels train with us and to finding ways to continue to innovate with our players and brand partners,” he said.

Scott Soshnick is the editor-in-chief of Sportico, Penske Media’s new sports business platform.

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